Paywalls and your social strategy

Mashable discusses how paywalls impact on social strategies for online news media with editors from Dallas News, The Economist and Honolulu Civil Beat.

The main concern across the board is the accessibility of stories behind the paywall affects how much an editor (or social media editor) can share. With straightforward “subscribe or see nothing” paywalls the editor at least knows that sharing is off the table, but when you have metered or “snapshot” strategies, it becomes more difficult to tell if a user will successfully be able to view all the stories that they’re clicking through to.

The flipside to that is that any unsuccessful experiences to read shared links will quickly become known to the site’s editors, especially in the social media world.

It definitely changes the way one can go about creating awareness and conversations about the topic or brand. However, somewhat surprisingly, none of these editors seem to be anywhere near the “crying about how paywall will kill social sharing” whinge that many may have thought they would.

They’ve all found different ways to cope and manage the impact of paywalls on their social strategies without placing social in the “less important” bucket, so to speak.

At the end of the day, it’s all about adapting. Paywalls for mainstream media is in its infancy yet and as these strategies and business models develop, so will understanding, experience and specialised skillsets that will enable media sites to maintain reach and relevance even in a paid-content environment.

A huge part of the media business has always been about distribution of its core product (content) to as many eyeballs as possible, within its business and social environment (ie geographic coverage), and it’s always managed to achieve this somehow.

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